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Let's Join Together to Reject Hate

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Rebecca Chopp

Mourning the victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

Letter  •

Dear DU Community,

Sometimes it’s very hard to know what to say. Just in the past week alone, eleven lives were lost while worshipping at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh because of the nature of their faith. Two African Americans were killed at a grocery store near Louisville, Kentucky because of the color of their skin. Elected officials, including two former presidents, a former vice president, and a former secretary of state, among others, received bomb threats because of their political beliefs.  Much closer to home, several hundred members of our community received a vile email attacking individual members of our staff and espousing racist and homophobic comments.

What can we do when there is so much hatred in the world? What do we do when it harms us and those we care so much about?

I don’t have any easy answers or any naïve promises.  I, too, am learning to navigate a world where devastating events come much too rapidly, where information, even misinformation, is showered upon us daily.  I know we do not always get it right for you, despite our best efforts.  

But I also know that our community is deeply committed to finding a clear path forward, together. I have been impressed and inspired by how quickly our students and staff have organized events and demonstrated support for one another. Our faculty too have shown support in the classroom, and in statements and opinion pieces published in the press.  I believe we have our sights set on being a community of love, justice and hope. I believe we have the strength, courage and compassion to evolve who we are.  We can do better.

This week there will be a variety of events entitled “Love Transforms Pain into Power,” being organized by Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence and numerous student groups. I hope you will consider participating in some of them, culminating in a rally on Friday at noon on Driscoll Green. Let us join together to reject hate.  Let us show that we will not let hate take hold in our community nor any of the communities we are a part of. 

One of the things I like and admire about this community is that we “step forward,” by which I mean we engage, we strive to improve, we support our friends in times of trouble, we do good in the world. We are not perfect, but we are doers and strivers. I ask you now to strive to support each other, to make sure you take care of yourself, to determine to do good, and together, to build toward a more just, compassionate and loving community for everyone at DU.

Rebecca Chopp

During times like these, self-care is extremely important. If you need support, please don’t hesitate to use the resources available to you.

• Rabbi Serebryanski,, is available to offer you spiritual and personal guidance. 

• Employee Assistance Program: The HCC provides counseling and support for all University of Denver employees, including crisis and after-hours support. Please call 303-871-2205 to access services, or make an appointment online through My Health, which can be accessed through our website.

• The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides leadership, guidance and resources in support of the University’s commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive institution. To contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, please email

• The Center for Multicultural Excellence challenges the University of Denver community to create a campus climate that ensures all of its members are valued, supported and thrive by embracing and engaging our social identities.

• The Health & Counseling Center (HCC) provides many medical and mental health services, including crisis and after-hours support. All University of Denver students have access to crisis services at the HCC, regardless of insurance coverage (phone: 303-871-2205; Ritchie Center, 2240 E. Buchtel Blvd., Suite 3N)

• Student Outreach & Support is a University resource where trained staff members ensure that students are connected to appropriate campus resources, have a plan of action to meet their goals, and learn how to navigate challenging situations. The Student Support Pathway can be activated by completing a Pioneers Care report at or by calling 303-871-2400 to consult.

• The Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX, in collaboration with University partners, foster an environment of equal opportunity and equity for students, faculty, and staff in all aspects of educational programming and employment.